WASHINGTON — If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
To this computerized dossier
on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information
that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and
bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy
neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera
surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "
This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks.
Remember Poindexter? Brilliant man, first in his class at the Naval Academy, later earned a doctorate in physics, rose to national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan. He had this brilliant idea of secretly selling missiles to Iran to pay ransom for hostages, and with the illicit proceeds to illegally support contras in Nicaragua.
A jury convicted Poindexter in 1990 on five felony counts of misleading Congress and making false statements, but an appeals court overturned the verdict because Congress had given him immunity for his testimony. He famously asserted, "The buck stops here," arguing that the White House staff, and not the president, was responsible for fateful decisions that might prove embarrassing.
This ring-knocking master of deceit is back again with a plan even more scandalous than Iran-contra. He heads the "Information Awareness Office" in the otherwise excellent Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which spawned the Internet and stealth aircraft technology. Poindexter is now realizing his 20-year dream: getting the "data-mining" power to snoop on every public and private act of every American.
Even the hastily passed U.S.A. Patriot Act, which widened the scope of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and weakened 15 privacy laws, raised requirements for the government to report secret eavesdropping to Congress and the courts. But Poindexter's assault on individual privacy rides roughshod over such oversight.
He is determined to break down the wall between commercial snooping and secret government intrusion. The disgraced admiral dismisses such necessary differentiation as bureaucratic "stovepiping." And he has been given a $200 million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans.
When George W. Bush was running for president, he stood foursquare in defense of each person's medical, financial and communications privacy. But Poindexter, whose contempt for the restraints of oversight drew the Reagan administration into its most serious blunder, is still operating on the presumption that on such a sweeping theft of privacy rights, the buck ends with him and not with the president.
This time, however, he has been seizing power in the open. In the past week
John Markoff of The Times, followed by Robert O'Harrow of The
Political awareness can overcome "Total Information Awareness," the combined force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar overreach, Attorney General Ashcroft tried his Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and postal workers as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate should now do the same to this other exploitation of fear.
The Latin motto over Poindexter"s new Pentagon office reads "Scientia Est Potentia" — "knowledge is power." Exactly: the government's infinite knowledge about you is its power over you. "We're just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy," this brilliant mind blandly assured The Post. A jury found he spoke falsely before.
Copyright The New York Times Company
A new Pentagon research office has started designing a global computer-surveillance system to give U.S. counterterrorism officials access to personal information in government and commercial databases around the world.
The Information Awareness Office, run by former national security adviser John M. Poindexter, aims to develop new technologies to sift through "ultra-large" data warehouses and networked computers in search of threatening patterns among everyday transactions, such as credit card purchases and travel reservations, according to interviews and documents.
Authorities already have access to a wealth of information about individual terrorists, but they typically have to obtain court approval in the United States or make laborious diplomatic and intelligence efforts overseas. The system proposed by Poindexter and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at about $200 million a year, would be able to sweep up and analyze data in a much more systematic way. It would provide a more detailed look at data than the super-secret National Security Agency now has, the former Navy admiral said.
"How are we going to find terrorists and preempt them, except by following their trail," said Poindexter, who brought the idea to the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and now is beginning to award contracts to high-technology vendors.
"The problem is much more complex, I believe, than we've faced before," he said. "It's how do we harness with technology the street smarts of people on the ground, on a global scale."
Although formidable foreign policy and privacy hurdles remain before any prototype becomes operational, the initiative shows how far the government has come in its willingness to use information technology and expanded surveillance authorities in the war on terrorism.
Poindexter said it will take years to realize his vision, but the office has already begun providing some technology to government agencies. For example, Poindexter recently agreed to help the FBI build its data-warehousing system. He's also spoken to the Transportation Security Administration about aiding its development of a massive passenger-profiling system.
In his first interview since he started the "information awareness" program, Poindexter, who figured prominently in the Iran-contra scandal more than a decade ago, said the systems under development would, among other things, help analysts search randomly for indications of travel to risky areas, suspicious e-mails, odd fund transfers and improbable medical activity, such as the treatments of anthrax sores. Much of the data would be collected through computer "appliances" -- some mixture of hardware and software -- that would, with permission of governments and businesses, enable intelligence agencies to routinely extract information.
Some specialists question whether the technology Poindexter envisions is even feasible, given the immense amount of data it would handle. Others question whether it is diplomatically possible, given the sensitivities about privacy around the world. But many agree, if implemented as planned, it probably would be the largest data-surveillance system ever built.
Paul Werbos, a computing and artificial-intelligence specialist at the National Science Foundation, doubted whether such "appliances" can be calibrated to adequately filter out details about innocent people that should not be in the hands of the government. "By definition, they're going to send highly sensitive, private personal data," he said. "How many innocent people are going to get falsely pinged? How many terrorists are going to slip through?"
Former senator Gary Hart (D-Colo.), a member of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, said there's no question about the need to use data more effectively. But he criticized the scope of Poindexter's program, saying it is "total overkill of intelligence" and a potentially "huge waste of money."
"There's an Orwellian concept if I've ever heard one," Hart said when told about the program.
Poindexter said any operational system would include safeguards to govern the collection of information. He said rules built into the software would identify users, create an audit trail and govern the information that is available. But he added that his mission is to develop the technology, not the policy. It would be up to Congress and policymakers to debate the issue and establish the limits that would make the system politically acceptable.
"We can develop the best technology in the world and unless there is public acceptance and understanding of the necessity, it will never be implemented," he said. "We're just as concerned as the next person with protecting privacy."
Getting the Defense Department job is something of a comeback for Poindexter. The Reagan administration national security adviser was convicted in 1990 of five felony counts of lying to Congress, destroying official documents and obstructing congressional inquiries into the Iran-contra affair, which involved the secret sale of arms to Iran in the mid-1980s and diversion of profits to help the contra rebels in Nicaragua.
Poindexter, a retired Navy rear admiral, was the highest-ranking Regan administration official found guilty in the scandal. He was sentenced to six months in jail by a federal judge who called him "the decision-making head" of a scheme to deceive Congress. The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that conviction in 1991, saying Poindexter's rights had been violated through the use of testimony he had given to Congress after being granted immunity.
In recent years, he has worked as a DARPA contractor at Syntek Technologies Inc., an Arlington consulting firm that helped develop technology to search through large amounts of data. Poindexter now has a corner office at a DARPA facility in Arlington. He still wears cuff links with the White House seal and a large ring from the Naval Academy, where he graduated at the top of his class in 1958.
As Poindexter views the plan, counterterrorism officials will use "transformational" technology to sift through almost unimaginably large amounts of data, something Poindexter calls "noise," to find a discernable "signal" indicating terrorist activity or planning. In addition to gathering data, the tools he is trying to develop would give analysts a way to visually represent what that information means. The system also would include the technology to identify people at a distance, based on known details about their faces and gaits.
He cited the recent sniper case as an example of something that would have benefited from such technology. The suspects' car, a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, was repeatedly seen by police near the shooting scenes. Had investigators been able to know that, Poindexter said, they might have detained the suspects sooner.
The office already has several substantial contracts in the works with technology vendors. They include Hicks & Associates Inc., a national security consultant in McLean; Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., a management and technology consultant in McLean; and Ratheon Corp., a technology company that will provide search and data-mining tools. "Poindexter made the argument to the right players, so they asked him back into the government," said Mike McConnell, a vice president at Booz Allen and former director of the NSA.
The office already has an emblem that features a variation of the great seal of the United States: An eye looms over a pyramid and appears to scan the world. The motto reads: Scientia Est Potentia, or "knowledge is power."
© 2002 The Washington Post Company
2) Breaking News - Patriot Act II Exposed!
3) DOJ's Sweeping Expansion Anti-Terror Act
4) Our Favorite Quotes
Welcome to another issue of "Offshore & Privacy Secrets"!
This week we are going to take a look at the recently exposed plan to extend the Patriot Act. The new legislation has been aptly named "The Patriot Act II".
Below we have links to the leaked documents provided by PBS, in addition we have included a complete article from the Information Clearing House with some insight.
If there was ever any doubt of the US Governments desire to create the ultimate Police State, just taking a look at the nature and scope of the legislation being crafted by the nations leaders should remove all doubt.
The "Patriot Act II" continues the attacks on the core of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was created in secret and its' existence denied up until the document was "leaked".
While all the various provisions of the proposed legislation would not likely be passed without some resistance - by looking at the nature and scope of the proposals you will understand the MINDSET of those now in charge of the US Government and Homeland Security. It is clear that those crafting this proposed legislation have no respect for the INTENT of the US Constitution or the VISION of those who founded the USA!
Will the provisions of the "Patriot Act II" ever be adopted and implemented? At this point your guess is as good as ours. Whether all, some, or none of the provisions are adopted is yet to be seen.
But what is clearly seen by all is that there is little respect for the US Consitution or Bill of Rights by those holding some of the most powerful positions in the US Government.
It is also a concern that such a document was being created in private - so that it could be introduced when the right "opportunity" presented itself and potentially under circumstances where those voting for it would not have the time (or the will) to read and question the contents.
Perhaps at the start of an attack on Iraq, or even better (in the minds of the crafters) introduced after another terrorist(?) attack in the US when politicians would be less likely to protest the contents or delay passage!
Much like the circumstance under which the original Patriot Act was passed.
With the proposals now being leaked, the risk of such a "slam dunk" attempt at passage seem unlikely, but it is clear that the intent was to use the start of a war or another domestic attack as an "excuse" to push through this anti-freedom legistlation.
Below is an article about the planned legistlation as well as links to the document itself.
Feel free to forward this newsletter to family and friends and help support the privacy revolution.
Live Free in 2003... K Freeman
There's an important story developing tonight at the
Justice Department. The non-partisan Center for Public
Integrity obtained a closely-guarded document that shows
plans for a sweeping expansion of the overnment's
Until now, few people outside of the department, not even members of key congressional committees have seen this draft legislation. It could lead to increased surveillance and greater secrecy - all in the name of the war on terror. It raises questions about how we balance liberty and security - the rights of individuals versus the rule of law.
Bill Moyers talks to Chuck Lewis about the significance of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 and how it would affect civil liberties
Read the Department of Justice Response (PDF) http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/03-082-opa.pdf
See Office of Legislative Affairs cover sheet for the draft legislation (PDF) http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/distribution.pdf
READ THE DOCUMENT
Download the high resolution version (PDF) http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/patriot2-hi.pdf
Download the low resolution version (PDF) http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/patriot2-low.pdf
By Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle Information Clearing House 2-8-3
WASHINGTON -- The Bush Administration is preparing a bold,
comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the
wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government
broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence
gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives,
and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access
The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12 MB). The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of "the Patriot Act II" in legislative parlance.
"We haven't heard anything from the Justice Department on updating the Patriot Act," House Judiciary Committee spokesman Jeff Lungren told the Center. "They haven't shared their thoughts on that. Obviously, we'd be interested, but we haven't heard anything at this point."
Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned. Mark Corallo, deputy director of Justice's Office of Public Affairs, told the Center his office was unaware of the draft. "I have heard people talking about revising the Patriot Act, we are looking to work on things the way we would do with any law," he said. "We may work to make modifications to protect Americans," he added. When told that the Center had a copy of the draft legislation, he said, "This is all news to me. I have never heard of this."
After the Center posted this story, Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs for the Justice Dept., released a statement saying that, "Department staff have not presented any final proposals to either the Attorney General or the White House. It would be premature to speculate on any future decisions, particularly ideas or proposals that are still being discussed at staff levels."
An Office of Legislative Affairs "control sheet" that was obtained by the PBS program "Now With Bill Moyers" shows that a copy of the bill was sent to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Vice President Richard Cheney on Jan. 10, 2003. "Attached for your review and comment is a draft legislative proposal entitled the 'Domestice Security Enhancement Act of 2003,'" the memo, sent from "OLP" or Office of Legal Policy, says.
Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution, reviewed the draft legislation at the request of the Center, and said that the legislation "raises a lot of serious concerns. It's troubling that they have gotten this far along and they've been telling people there is nothing in the works. " This proposed law, he added, "would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive 'suspicion,' create new death penalties, and even seek to take American Citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups."
Some of the key provision of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 include:
Section 201, "Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information":
Safeguarding the dissemination of information related to national security has been a hallmark of Ashcroft's first two years in office, and the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 follows in the footsteps of his October 2001 directive to carefully consider such interest when granting Freedom of Information Act requests. While the October memo simply encouraged FOIA officers to take national security, "protecting sensitive business information and, not least, preserving personal privacy" into account while deciding on requests, the proposed legislation would enhance the department's ability to deny releasing material on suspected terrorists in government custody through FOIA.
Section 202, "Distribution of 'Worst Case Scenario' Information":
This would introduce new FOIA restrictions with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency. As provided for in the Clean Air Act, the EPA requires private companies that use potentially dangerous chemicals must produce a "worst case scenario" report detailing the effect that the release of these controlled substances would have on the surrounding community.
Section 202 of this Act would, however, restrict FOIA requests to these reports, which the bill's drafters refer to as "a roadmap for terrorists." By reducing public access to "read-only" methods for only those persons "who live and work in the geographical area likely to be affected by a worst-case scenario," this subtitle would obfuscate an established level of transparency between private industry and the public.
Section 301-306, "Terrorist Identification Database":
These sections would authorize creation of a DNA database on "suspected terrorists," expansively defined to include association with suspected terrorist groups, and noncitizens suspected of certain crimes or of having supported any group designated as terrorist.
Section 312, "Appropriate Remedies with Respect to Law Enforcement Surveillance Activities":
This section would terminate all state law enforcement consent decrees before Sept. 11, 2001, not related to racial profiling or other civil rights violations, that limit such agencies from gathering information about individuals and organizations. The authors of this statute claim that these consent orders, which were passed as a result of police spying abuses, could impede current terrorism investigations. It would also place substantial restrictions on future court injunctions.
Section 405, "Presumption for Pretrial Detention in Cases Involving Terrorism":
While many people charged with drug offenses punishable by prison terms of 10 years or more are held before their trial without bail, this provision would create a comparable statute for those suspected of terrorist activity. The reasons for presumptively holding suspected terrorists before trial, the Justice Department summary memo states, are clear. "This presumption is warranted because of the unparalleled magnitude of the danger to the United States and its people posed by acts of terrorism, and because terrorism is typically engaged in by groups - many with international connections - that are often in a position to help their members flee or go into hiding."
Section 501, "Expatriation of Terrorists":
This provision, the drafters say, would establish that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'." But whereas a citizen formerly had to state his intent to relinquish his citizenship, the new law affirms that his intent can be "inferred from conduct." Thus, engaging in the lawful activities of a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for expatriation.
The Domestic Security Enhancement Act is the latest development in an 18-month trend in which the Bush Administration has sought expanded powers and responsibilities for law enforcement bodies to help counter the threat of terrorism.
The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, gave law enforcement officials broader authority to conduct electronic surveillance and wiretaps, and gives the president the authority, when the nation is under attack, to confiscate any property within U.S. jurisdiction of anyone believed to be engaging in such attacks. The measure also tightened oversight of financial activities to prevent money laundering and diminish bank secrecy in an effort to disrupt terrorist finances.
It also changed provisions of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was passed in 1978 during the Cold War. FISA established a different standard of government oversight and judicial review for "foreign Intelligence" surveillance than that applied to traditional domestic law enforcement surveillance.
The USA Patriot Act allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share information gathered in terrorism investigations under the "foreign intelligence" standard with local law enforcement agencies, in essence nullifying the higher standard of oversight that applied to domestic investigations. The USA Patriot Act also amended FISA to permit surveillance under the less rigorous standard whenever "foreign intelligence" was a "significant purpose" rather than the "primary purpose" of an investigation.
The draft legislation goes further in that direction. "In the [USA Patriot Act] we have to break down the wall of foreign intelligence and law enforcement," Cole said. "Now they want to break down the wall between international terrorism and domestic terrorism."
In an Oct. 9, 2002, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher testified that Justice had been, "looking at potential proposals on following up on the PATRIOT Act for new tools and we have also been working with different agencies within the government and they are still studying that and hopefully we will continue to work with this committee in the future on new tools that we believe are necessary in the war on terrorism."
Asked by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) whether she could inform the committee of what specific areas Justice was looking at, Fisher replied, "At this point I can't, I'm sorry. They're studying a lot of different ideas and a lot of different tools that follow up on information sharing and other aspects."
Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy Viet Dinh, who was the principal author of the first Patriot Act, told Legal Times last October that there was "an ongoing process to continue evaluating and re-evaluating authorities we have with respect to counterterrorism," but declined to say whether a new bill was forthcoming.
Former FBI Director William Sessions, who urged caution while Congress considered the USA Patriot Act, did not want to enter the fray concerning a possible successor bill.
"I hate to jump into it, because it's a very delicate thing," Sessions told the Center, without acknowledging whether he knew of any proposed additions or revisions to the additional Patriot bill.
When the first bill was nearing passage in the Congress in late 2001, however, Sessions told Internet site NewsMax.Com that the balance between civil liberties and sufficient intelligence gathering was a difficult one. "First of all, the Attorney General has to justify fully what he's asking for, " Sessions, who served presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush as FBI Director from 1987 until 1993, said at the time. "We need to be sure that we provide an effective means to deal with criminality." At the same time, he said, "we need to be sure that we are mindful of the Constitution, mindful of privacy considerations, but also meet the technological needs we have" to gather intelligence.
Cole found it disturbing that there have been no consultations with Congress on the draft legislation. "It raises a lot of serious concerns and is troubling as a generic matter that they have gotten this far along and tell people that there is nothing in the works. What that suggests is that they're waiting for a propitious time to introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun. At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they'll have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these right away."
"People who live in states have as a rule never experienced
the state of nature and vice-versa, and have no practical
possibility of moving from the one to the other ... On what
grounds, then, do people form hypotheses about the relative
merits of state and state of nature? ... My contention here
is that preferences for political arrangements of society are
to a large extent produced by these very arrangements, so that
political institutions are either addictive like some drugs,
or allergy-inducing like some others, or both, for they may
be one thing for some people and the other for others."
-- Anthony de Jasay, The State